DT

The run-up to the Christmas holidays is always an exciting period: winding down school for the term and taking part in fun class activities is all part of the seasonal excitement. This time presents opportunities for all manner of activities, with crafting being a long-running favourite. Take this special time of year to explore a variety of crafting activities, and see how simply children can create lovely gifts, cards and decorations to be taken home and treasured for the holidays.

One thing that I have found is that to have a successful makerspace in your school, you need to keep up the momentum. What are the new activities that need to be added? How do we integrate what we are making with our curriculum? How do we get more teachers and students involved in maker culture?

3D printers are one of the hottest new innovations in the manufacturing and design world, and this new tech is fast moving past its infancy. To many, it's a technology that seems futuristic for the time in which we live, never mind the classroom – but nevertheless is one that holds enormous potential not just in the STEM industries, but in schools as well.

Design Technology in schools has been going through a rough patch for many years now, as it tries to shake-off its image of a stuffy subject making bird-boxes and cushions for no real reason other than teaching out-dated, limited-use skills. In many areas of Asia there is also a lack of understanding of the subject, and it is often judged as a less academic and therefore less important subject. Despite swathes of students progressing to universities to study Engineering, Design Technology often doesn’t have large numbers of students opting for the subject and parents fail to appreciate the value of the curriculum.

Capturing the attention of a classroom full of over-zealous students and making them want to learn more about your ‘pet subject’ is often something of a challenge and a source of frustration to all concerned, so any prop or piece of technology that helps is usually welcomed with open arms by the hard pressed class tutor. More often than not, however, such magical enablers have been hard to come by. This (in my experience, anyway) often leads to countless wasted hours of futile planning and crafting followed inevitably by the sullen after school destruction of exercise sheets, Powerpoint slide-shows and lesson notes all destined for that every growing bin that is usually filed as ‘My Old Lesson Plans’.

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